Gettysburg covers the full three days of the battle, with each game turn equivalent to 2½ hours of daylight or one night. The map spans the historic battlefield and surrounding terrain, divided into 800-meter hexes. Counters represent the military units that fought in the battle, divisions for the Confederates and corps for the Union. Special markers represent leaders and artillery concentration. Event cards bring to life the notable moments of the battle, upsetting the perfect plans of the player and giving the game exceptional replay value.
At the heart of the game system are fatigue and army morale. Units cannot sustain combat continually and will wear out if pressed too hard. Maintaining a reserve of troops to plug gaps in the line is critical. As units rout and break, or if their line of communications is cut, the morale of their army plummets. If you can drive the opposing army’s morale to zero, they quit the field and you win a “sudden death” victory.
A match takes no more than 90 minutes, making the game suitable for beginners and old hands alike.